Commentary: Xi-Trump meeting to set tone for China-U.S. ties

Source: Xinhua| 2017-03-31 15:13:07|Editor: ZD
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by Xinhua Writer Zhu Junqing

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, the first of its kind, is expected to set the tone for the future development of China-U.S. ties that matter a great deal for the Asia-Pacific and the world as a whole.

The meeting between the leaders of the world's top two economies is of significance as China-U.S. relations are facing great opportunities after witnessing twists and turns over the past months.

Fortunately, China and the United States have always been able to seek common ground while reserve differences, and have shown willingness to manage their disagreements and jointly maintain stability in bilateral ties, as well as peace in the region and beyond.

In a phone conversation on Feb. 10, the two leaders pledged to build a constructive bilateral relationship. Trump reversed his previous stance and reassured his Chinese counterpart that the U.S. administration will honor the one-China policy, the fundamental for the world's most important bilateral ties.

Meanwhile, the two sides have agreed to build relations according to the principles of non-confrontation, no-conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, principles which U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reiterated several times on different occasions and which were originally proposed by China in 2013.

Both sides have also recognized that cooperation is the only correct choice, and that there will be important development opportunities resulting from smooth China-U.S. relations.

The upcoming face-to-face meeting between the two presidents is a good opportunity to deepen their personal understanding of each other and to strengthen mutual trust. A strong personal relationship between heads of state often plays a critical and sometimes even indispensable role in helping promote the relations between their countries.

The two-day gathering is expected to lay out a series of guidelines for bilateral relations in the future and the two leaders will exchange views on regional and global issues, such as two-way trade and investment, currency and stability in the South China Sea, among others.

Of course, it would be naive to believe that the two sides can bridge their differences in a single diplomatic meeting. Yet as long as the two nations can maintain their good faith, which they have shown recently, to talk and to make concessions based on mutual respect, then no difference would be too difficult to iron out.

Also, China and the United States are now part of a highly globalized world. For the Trump administration, many of its most urgent tasks, like boosting economic growth, creating jobs and revamping infrastructure, are in the domestic arena. In fact, China's strong economic and trade ties with the United States can be of great help, not obstacles to the Trump administration to deliver on its promises. The incentives for both sides to ruin their important relationship are minimal at best.

Across the world, the two countries also need each other more than ever to tackle such prickly problems as global warming, terrorism, transnational crimes and drug-trafficking, and to maintain world peace and development. The cost of non-cooperation would be very high indeed.

The theory of the Thucydides Trap describes the terrible scenario of China and the United States going to war to compete for global supremacy.

Yet the theory disregards the fact that in a world of interdependence, cooperation is the best and most efficient way for nations like China and the United States to achieve their common interests. As long as the two countries can pursue their shared interests as well as navigate their differences with pragmatism and prudence, they can surely avoid this trap.


KEY WORDS: Xi Jinping